Many SMART Recovery attendees participated in a national study over the past two years which compared 12-step groups to mutual help alternatives. (You may recall it as the PAL Study.) The overall goal of the study was to determine differences in membership, group participation, cohesion and satisfaction. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Study results have now been published in the “Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment”, and the study found that people in recovery who attended alternative support groups experienced more cohesion and greater satisfaction when compared with members of traditional 12-step programs. (SMART Recovery, LifeRing and Women for Sobriety meeting participants were included in the study, as well as 12-step participants.)
Importantly, the study also revealed that SMART, LifeRing and WFS should be referred to by professionals – particularly to their clients who are less religious or may be unsure of their commitment to abstinence when first contemplating a mutual Continue reading
Saturday, January 14th, 2017. 5:00PM EST
Presented by Dr. Reid Hester
SMART Recovery will host Reid K. Hester, Ph.D., for an overview and discussion of recent scientific findings on addiction treatment and support. There are valuable lessons to be learned and new strategies resulting from research that have real implications for people struggling with their use of alcohol, drugs and behaviors.
The event will be enjoyed by individuals struggling with addictive behaviors, as well as the professionals and families who want to help a loved one.
Dr. Hester is the Director of Research at Checkup & Choices and creator of SMART’s CheckUp & Choices companion web course (formerly called Overcoming Addictions). His professional career has included clinical work, program consultation, research, and training in empirically supported approaches to substance abuse treatment.
Currently, Dr. Hester is directing an implementation research grant Continue reading
By Robert Parkinson
You made it through recovery treatment. You were doing well. And then one night, a coworker asks you to grab a drink after work. “Just one drink.” It can’t hurt, you tell yourself. That’s the last thing you remember when you wake up in the hospital the next morning.
Relapse is one of the most frustrating, humiliating experiences you can face in recovery. It leaves you feeling guilty, ashamed and tempted to throw in the towel and just keep using. Unfortunately, relapse is also common. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 40 to 60 percent of people who go through addiction treatment programs go on to relapse at least once. In fact, many people relapse multiple times before finally achieving a full recovery. Continue reading
Spend It Wisely: What to Do with Your Newfound Time
By Micah Robbins
It feels like a distant memory: Nights spent in bars and clubs followed by dark days under the covers. Partying used to take up a lot of your time, and now that you’re clean, your schedule is pretty clear. This newfound time can present both opportunity and angst. The secret to success is to spend your free hours wisely, so you can continue down the right path toward the best possible you. Continue reading
Addiction recovery during the Holidays
by Richard Song
The holidays can be a particularly difficult time for people new to recovery. The number of challenges to your recovery can be daunting, between family gatherings, parties where alcohol is present, and emotional triggers such as stress and sadness related to past memories. You can build resistance to these triggers by preparing a plan. Here are some general tips that can help those recovering from an addiction through the holidays:
1) Be careful about which events you attend. Avoid those that will be highly tempting and that focus around “using” such as wine tastings and cocktail parties. When you arrive at an event, take note of the potential triggers and come up with a plan that will address each of those triggers – for instance, position yourself away from the bar.
2) Have a backup plan in case the temptation is too strong or you feel uncomfortable at an event. Bring a sober friend who will support you and leave with you if you don’t feel comfortable staying. If you feel comfortable doing so, let the hosts know your situation. That way, you won’t feel like you offended them if you decide to leave early. Continue reading
What’s In A Name?
~ Brian Sherman, PhD, Center for Motivation and Change
“By continuing to use the term “addict” and “alcoholic,” treatment providers are doing a disservice to their patients and potentially negating progress towards destigmatization and successful long-term treatment.”
What’s in a name? Sure, by any other name a rose may smell so sweet, but by any other name would an “addict” feel so stigmatized? Were Shakespeare alive today I would ask that he reconsider his stance. With the gradual pace of change in addiction treatment highlighted by the continued advancement and implementation of evidence-based treatments, why is the field so far behind in not using more clinically appropriate and de-stigmatizing — albeit a bit cumbersome – language such as: “person with a substance use disorder” or “person suffering from addiction”? It has been years now that the field of clinical psychology did away with stigmatizing terms such as “schizophrenic”, “manic-depressive”, or “autistic.” Why then does the field of addiction remain so far behind?
As an addiction psychologist I do not discourage my patients for whom the term “addict” works. If it motivates them to change, fantastic. For many people, the term “addict” is a helpful way of identifying symptoms and issues, and finding a way to connect and bond with others in a healthy way that promotes change. However, when that term creates a prolonged sense of failure or guilt which ultimately may lead to relapse (negative emotions are one of the strongest predictors of relapse) or prevent someone from seeking help in the first place (because they don’t want to accept the label, and the stigma that is associated with it), I question its utility. Continue reading